Daily news - 6th August 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

COVID-19 and addiction: webinars, podcasts and online discussions | SSA

Treatment and recovery services – and COVID-19 |Collective Voice

COVID-19 Information Hub | Scottish Drugs Forum

COVID-19 and smoking: resources, research and news | BMJ

Coronavirus: information and advice hub - alcohol | Alcohol Change UK

COVID-19 resources page for people who use drugs (PWUD) and drug service providers | EMCDDA


UK news

Public Health England issues rare alert over illicit prescription drugs

Surge in tablets sold as benzodiazepines, used to treat anxiety or insomnia, linked to hospitalisations and deaths | Guardian, UK

Hooked: The Unexpected Addicts - video

Two women of substance, Melissa Rice and Jade Wye, debunk the stereotype of addicts and guide you through the highs and lows of addiction and recovery | BBC, UK

Scientists Say Lithium Should Be Added to Drinking Water to Prevent Suicides

A new study published in the 'British Journal of Psychiatry' finds a link between lithium in drinking water and lower suicide levels | VICE, UK

Risk and enabling environments in sport: Systematic doping as harm reduction

Doping and the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) are often considered and discussed as a separate issue from other types of substance use, by sporting bodies, politicians, the media, and athletes who use drugs themselves | IJDP, UK

Medical Psychedelics Working Group Q&A with Professor Jo Neill - podcast

On July 14th 2020, the UK’s leading independent scientific body on drugs has launched the Drug Science Medical Psychedelics Working Group. Building off the success of the Medical Cannabis Working Group | Drug Science, UK

Turning Point Scotland offers naloxone training at Perth and Kinross housing service

Turning Point Scotland’s Perth and Kinross Floating Housing Support service has become one of the first non-addiction services in the UK authorised to provide drugs which could prevent opioid overdoses | Scottish Housing News, UK

Moving Forward: Hull to Cairo

Join us as we take on an exciting virtual challenge Moving Forward: from Hull to Cairo from 6th August to 6th September 2020 – to celebrate recovery and help ensure Forward’s life-saving work continues | Forward Trust, UK

Grimsby death and illness linked to contaminated crack cocaine

A man died and two women in Grimsby had to be taken to hospital after taking what police believe were contaminated or unusually potent drugs | BBC, UK

Manchester street seating to be made smoke-free

Newly created seating areas outside bars and restaurants will be made no-smoking zones, a council has said | BBC, UK

Dewsbury: Hundreds of cannabis plants found in building

Hundreds of cannabis plants have been found in a three-storey former commercial property by police | BBC, UK

Drone footage shows man jumping from window in Matlock drug raid

A police drone captured the moment a man jumped out of a first floor window and ran from police during a drugs raid | BBC, UK


International news

A New Bike Store Helps Former Drug Users Beat the Cycle of Addiction

“We believe that if you invest in job opportunities, you get social return,” says Stuart Fraser in his Scottish accent, speaking on the phone last Friday | Dublin Enquirer, Ireland

Midland Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force & HSE CADS: Invitation to Tender

A mid-term evaluation of Drug & Alcohol Prevention & Treatment Support Services operating across the midland region | activelink, Ireland

Retention strategies for medications for addiction treatment in adults with opioid use disorder: a rapid evidence review (PDF)

We searched MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library from February 12, 2009, through June 16, 2019, for systematic reviews (SRs) and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We summarized evidence for six retention intervention types: care settings/services/logistical support, contingency management, health information technology (IT), extended-release (XR) medication-based treatment, psychosocial support, and financial support | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, USA

STASH, Vol. 16(8) - Have opioid overdose deaths been underreported?

The world has improved in recent years on many metrics-- fewer people are living in extreme poverty, dying from air pollution, or missing out on a basic education | BASIS, USA

Cannabinoids may affect activity of other pharmaceuticals

Cannabinoid-containing products may alter the effects of some prescription drugs, according to researchers. They published information that could help medical professionals make safe prescribing choices for their patients who use prescription, over-the-counter or illicit cannabinoid products | Science Daily, USA

Cannabis use shows substantial risks, no benefits for cardiovascular health

The chemicals in cannabis have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, heart failure and atrial fibrillation in observational studies; however, a full understanding of how use of cannabis affects the heart and blood vessels is limited by a lack of adequate research, according to a new Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association | Medical Xpress, USA

How COVID-19 Is Driving Risks in the Illicit Benzodiazepines Market

The life conditions imposed by the pandemic are leading many Americans to seek mental health treatment for the first time. As a result, prescribing of many psychiatric medications has risen by double digits in 2020 | Filter Magazine, USA

Twenty High-Risk Kentucky Counties Still Don’t Have Syringe Exchange

Harm reduction services are spreading in Kentucky, but not nearly fast enough for some of its most vulnerable residents. A Kentucky Health News analysis found that as of August 2020, the state has 74 syringe exchange centers in 63 out of 120 counties, just over half. That’s five more counties than last year | Filter magazine, USA

Bill restricting vaping sales and use in public passes final reading

Legislation regulating vaping products and heated tobacco devices has passed the final hurdle in Parliament | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Effect of COVID-19 lockdown on alcohol consumption in patients with pre-existing alcohol use disorder

We agree with the Editorial in the July, 2020, issue of The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, which emphasised the concerning long-term implications of lockdowns implemented to flatten the epidemic curve of COVID-19 on the health behaviour of individuals with alcohol-use disorder | Lancet corresspondence, UK

Alcohol and COVID-19: why now is the time to tackle alcohol harm

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday lives and the way we think about our health. In this blog, Dr Kieran Bunn from the Institute of Alcohol Studies explains why tackling alcohol harm should remain a priority | AHA UK, UK

Has The Coronavirus Pandemic Killed Social Smoking?

Smokers are quitting in their highest numbers in a decade – could occasional smoking be stubbed out for good? | Huffington Post opinion, UK